Nose-wrinkling souffles Essay

Even ardent cheese lovers may sniff at the idea of souffles made with
strong, aromatic cheeses not normally used for cooking. But the results
are milder than the cooking aromas might suggest. And if you don’t
normally favor cheeses with bold character, you may find the souffle offers an unintimidating introduction. It’s also an effective way
to stretch servings or use up leftovers of these often costly cheeses.
As with any souffle, the texture is affected by the amount of cooking.
If you like a soft, saucy center (a French preference), you bake the
souffle just until it looks set but still quakes when gently shaken.
Baked longer, the souffle will be a darker gold and airy but firm at the
heart. The richer the cheese–such as double- or triple-cream
types–the more liquid the center in the less-cooked souffles.

A souffle is so quickly put together it’s an ideal
spur-of-the-moment entree. (But you can start the sauce ahead, if you
like: to continue, reheat sauce and add cheese, then eggs.)

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As the souffle bakes, you’ll have time to prepare a green
salad. When the souffle is ready, you must be too–out of the oven, it
rapidly deflates. Cheeses with character

Following is a list of the assertive cheeses we’ve found
agreeable in souffles. The supermarket offers considerable variety, a
specialty cheese shop even more.

Creamy, rind-ripened cheeses such as brie, camembert, limburger,
raclette, schloss.

Slightly firm but smooth-textured cheeses such as port du salut,
brick, beer, and munster.

Bold blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton; or creamy
blues such as castello and gorgonzola.

Sharp-flavored ripened chevres (goat cheeses) such as bucheron or
unripened montrachet.

Buttery double- or triple-cream cheeses such as St. Andre, chaumes,
and some bries and camemberts. Bold-Cheese Souffle

About 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 2 tablespoons grated
parmesan cheese 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 6 eggs, separated 5
to 7 ounces cheese with character (see preceding suggestions), broken or
cut into small pieces

Butter a 1 to 1-1/2-quart souffle dish or 4 individual souffle
dishes (1-cup size). Dust with parmesan cheese and set aside.

In a 1- to 2-quart pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high
heat. Stir in flour and cook just until mixture bubbles. Remove from
heat and smoothly blend in milk. Return to medium-high heat and stir
until sauce boils, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Pour in yolks and stir to blend;
remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until they hold soft, moist peaks
when beater is lifted. Stir 1/4 of the whites into cheese sauce. Then
fold the cheese mixture into remaining whites until well blended (some
small patches of whites are fine). Pour into prepared souffle dish or

If there is less than 1/2 inch between the top of the souffle
mixture and the rim of the dish, quickly prepare a collar for the dish:
tear a sheet of foil several inches longer than the circumference of the
dish, fold lengthwise into fourths, butter one side of foil and wrap
foil (buttered side in) securely around dish to extend a few inches
above dish rim.

Bake in a 375[deg.] oven. For a souffle with a creamy core, the
surface should be golden and dry, but the center should quiver slightly
when gently shaken; this takes about 30 minutes for 1- to 1-1/2-quart
size, 15 minutes for 1-cup size. For a souffle that is evenly set
throughout and richly browned, allow about 45 minutes flor the larger
size, 20 minutes for the smaller. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


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